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Old 06-30-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
kev717
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Question Linux notebooks for going off to school - which one should I get?


Sorry for posting such a person-specific and difficult-to-answer question, but I am having difficulty in deciding on a linux laptop for going to school. I will be attending college for a Bachelor in Flight Technology and I need a notebook to take to class with me for notes (So nothing too awkward and heavy). I would prefer one without Windows pre-installed.
So far I have considered:
-Verix 1656 from zareason, however I am concerned about battery life and screen brightness (I like very dim screens, that which can be obtained with LED backlighting)
-Serval Professional from system76, however again I am concerned about battery life (I hear it only gets about 1 hour)
-Apple Macbook Pro, however it seems way too expensive for what it offers and might not have the best linux support.

For my battery life concerns, I believe that I could probably get away with running a text editor on the command line without having to boot into a GUI so I can save battery life. I also don't want to get a netbook because I'm likely to do *some* gaming, programming and 3d modeling in my spare time. Are there any other notebooks that I should consider from other places before making my decision?
I would try emailing the college, but they are busy with admissions stuff and probably won't care too much seeing as a computer is not a course requirement.

Again, sorry for posting such a specific question (I'll understand if a moderator removes this post). Also, thank-you in advance to anyone who takes the time to help me out.
-kev717
 
Old 06-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #2
TB0ne
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I know this isn't on the list of ones you mentioned, but I have had very good luck with Sony Vaio's over the years. My CS110E is a couple years old now, and I still get about 2 HRs battery life on it, running KDE4 with all the eye candy. I only have one with the Intel graphics, and I don't game on it. However, there are some that come with better graphics cards, and the Linux support on them has been great for me (openSUSE on my past 3).

The tradeoff is going to be how big a screen, and how much it weighs. Don't know if you've had one before, but I can speak from experience here. Big screen is nice and all...but cuts down on battery a lot, since it drains more juice. Sure, you CAN get an expanded battery pack, but do you really want to lug around a 15 pound weight all day? The smaller screens (with full sized keyboards) work great...better life, and lighter. If you've got a monitor/keyboard/mouse at home to use when you're sitting still, that'll probably be your best bet. Without my glasses, I can hardly read the screen, but sitting an 11" laptop at arms-length makes things easier to read, and on the big screen, it's not an issue.

My opinion...and worth every penny you paid for it.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
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I would recommend an inexpensive netbook for note taking in class, and a more powerful laptop/desktop for gaming and programming. Dell frequently runs a sale where if you buy certain selected models, you can get a netbook for $99. For the price of a Serval Pro or Mac, you can definitely get both an inexpensive netbook and a gaming desktop.

Also consider buying second-hand.

It's your call, of course.
 
Old 06-30-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
kev717
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The Vaio is certainly an interesting option. While they do last a long time, I do not particularly trust Sony products to work particularly well with Linux for an extended period of time (especially after the whole playstation BIOS thing).

The idea of buying a cheap netbook for taking notes and having a powerful desktop for everything else intrigues me. Battery life would probably be good because of the less power-demanding hardware. The problem I see is in the keyboard. I have an EEEPC 701 and the keyboard is terrible: the keys feel very awkward and sometimes don't register that I have pressed one, not to mention how flimbsy they feel. Also, I don't know where I can get a netbook for $99, but I'll certainly keep my eyes on dell and perhaps buy a USB keyboard for note-taking.

Thank-you both for your suggestions. More suggestions are certainly welcome.
-kev717
 
Old 06-30-2010, 03:44 PM   #5
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev717 View Post
The Vaio is certainly an interesting option. While they do last a long time, I do not particularly trust Sony products to work particularly well with Linux for an extended period of time (especially after the whole playstation BIOS thing).
Well, everything has been well supported on my past three Vaio's. The only exception on my current model is the touch-sensitive 'AV Mode' keys. Built in mic worked after one VERY small tweak, but everything else was great right out of the gate with openSUSE 11.1 and 11.2, wireless included.
Quote:
The idea of buying a cheap netbook for taking notes and having a powerful desktop for everything else intrigues me. Battery life would probably be good because of the less power-demanding hardware. The problem I see is in the keyboard. I have an EEEPC 701 and the keyboard is terrible: the keys feel very awkward and sometimes don't register that I have pressed one, not to mention how flimbsy they feel. Also, I don't know where I can get a netbook for $99, but I'll certainly keep my eyes on dell and perhaps buy a USB keyboard for note-taking.
I've got an EEE also (again with openSUSE on it), and it works great. But you are right, the keyboard does leave a bit to be desired, especially if you've got large hands. And if you have to lug around a portable keyboard, that adds to the weight, and cuts down on usability (got enough desk/lap space for the laptop AND the keyboard???) Better to get something larger and usable, in my opinion. The EEE is great for travel, or giving demos of my software, but that's about it in my opinion.
 
Old 02-13-2011, 09:06 PM   #6
ibonglagalag
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Angry sony vaio

rE vAIO SERIES P I had sad experience with Sony computer I bought one last Nov 2009 and barely two weeks of use it started having frequent crashhes...I reported and asked the help of no less than the Sony sales people at their Manila office copy furnished the Japanese senior executive...they promised to attend to my concern even suggesting helping me to get good price for the soon to be released Windows 7

.1 month two months with frequent follow ups and no reply...in disgust I placed the cmptr in my filing cabinet...forgot about it until I dug up my files for the new year 2011 (mind you the computer was hardly used, just two weeks) and saw it !! I try charging but it was blacked out !!!
I wrote Sony and was told to bring it to a service centewr....LOW AND BEHOLD THEY SAY THE lcd IS DOWN/THE BOARD IS DEFECTIVE AND IT WILL COST ME 35,000 !!!
that's sony durability AND SERVICE FOR YOU !!!
 
Old 02-13-2011, 09:46 PM   #7
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Just my two cents... I bought a Dell studio 1537 for 600 dollars, refurbished. 4 GB RAM, 320 GB hard drive, intel core 2 duo p8600 @ 2.40GHz (64-bit), and runs great. Never had a problem with it.
 
Old 02-14-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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Cheaper = Better.

It will either get stolen or broken so why pay more?

Last edited by jefro; 02-14-2011 at 07:43 PM.
 
Old 02-14-2011, 03:06 PM   #9
corp769
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Cheaper = Better.

I will either get stolen or broken so why pay more?
Definitely. The sysem I have normally goes for at least 800 or 900 dollars. Besides, most of the refurbished systems are returns because people couldn't afford them.
 
Old 02-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
jefro
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I'd just hate to see a young person get into spending too much money on a device that I think a very basic model would do. They have a tendency to be broken easily and seem to run off.

As to how refurbished systems get into a market may be very different between companies. I used to work at a very large company that would take lease returns and call them refurbished. They would never sell seconds or defect repaired computers.
Now there are plenty of places that do sell refurbished from any source.
 
Old 02-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #11
corp769
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
I'd just hate to see a young person get into spending too much money on a device that I think a very basic model would do. They have a tendency to be broken easily and seem to run off.

As to how refurbished systems get into a market may be very different between companies. I used to work at a very large company that would take lease returns and call them refurbished. They would never sell seconds or defect repaired computers.
Now there are plenty of places that do sell refurbished from any source.
True. I thoroughly went over my laptop, and even contacted Dell. Nothing at all was wrong with it, and it never got any repairs done to it whatsoever.
 
Old 02-15-2011, 04:08 PM   #12
jefro
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I have over the years bought a number of "refurbished" items. They so far have all seemed to be fine. Some of my first gizmo's were bought in refurbished. I still have my refurbished philips velo.
 
Old 02-16-2011, 01:52 PM   #13
yngwin
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You can't really go wrong with a Lenovo Thinkpad.
 
Old 02-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,

This thread is dated but to add my $.02.

Most Universities or Colleges do specify what should be brought to class. Of course that would depend on the curriculum's needs. Sometimes systems are provided at a discounted price to the students. Most networks are not open but managed.
 
Old 02-18-2011, 04:24 PM   #15
DavidMcCann
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For reliabilty, have a look at sites like
http://smidgenpc.com/2010/05/07/lapt...most-reliable/
http://www.digitaltrends.com/computi...ility-figures/

Jefro's comments on theft are worth noting. My outdoor computer is a 2003 IBM X31. It looks old-fashioned and the Linux sticker on the top may also be a deterent! Or you could get one in shocking pink ...
 
  


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